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‘FG will control narrative in the media’ — reactions to N5m hate speech fine

‘FG will control narrative in the media’ — reactions to N5m hate speech fine
August 05
12:34 2020

The unveiling of the sixth amendment to Nigeria’s broadcasting code by Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, has been greeted with criticism by some Nigerians.

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Speaking at the unveiling held in Lagos on Tuesday, Mohammed described the amendments as “desirable provisions” which would enhance the broadcast sector.

The minister said some of those who are opposed to the amendments in the broadcast industry have “resorted to all kinds of blackmail, using hack writers”, adding that the government is unperturbed because it is working in “national interest”.

Weeks before the unveiling of the new code, many stakeholders criticised it. While Wole Soyinka, literary giant, described it as “economic sabotage”, Jason Njoku, CEO of IrokoTV, branded it as “quasi-socialism” and a means of subsidising inefficiency in the industry.

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Some of the provisions of the amended code as listed by the minister include:

  • The Antitrust provision will boost local content and local industry due to laws prohibiting exclusive use of rights by broadcasters who intend to create monopolies and hold the entire market to themselves.
  • Sub-licensing and rights sharing create opportunities for local operators to also gain traction and raise revenue for their services
  • The law prohibiting backlog of advertising debts will definitely promote sustainability for the station owners and producers of content
  • The law on registration of web broadcasting grants the country the opportunity to regulate negative foreign broadcasts that can harm us
    as a nation.
  • The provisions on responsibility of broadcast stations to devote airtime to national emergencies: This provision obviously mandates terrestrial and Pay TV channels to make their services available to Nigerians at time of national emergencies – like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic – for their education and enlightenment.
  • The provision raises the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5 million.

However, some Nigerians are kicking against it. Here are their comments:

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